bullying

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Kentucky principals are offering their perspective on school bullying. 

A statewide survey released Wednesday shows many principals have received no training on how to carry out policies to prevent bullying. 

The questionnaire was conducted by the Kentucky Center for School Safety.  Executive Director Jon Akers recommends districts gives principals more training, which should include helping administrators distinguish between bullying and other misbehaviors.

"Sometimes there's mislabeling of conflicts between kids," explains Akers.  "Peer-to peer conflict with no imbalance of power is a different situation than the imbalance of power and the continual harrassing of a kid."

More than half of the principals who responded to the survey said they were only given copies of their district’s anti-bullying policies, without any training.  About one-fourth of them said they have received training. 

Gov. Steve Beshear has announced the creation of a new task force to combat bullying in Kentucky’s schools.

Beshear named the 22-member Kentucky Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force Thursday in Frankfort. He cited statistics from the Kentucky Department of Education that found over 15,000 reported incidents of bullying in the 2012-2013 school year, as well as research that links bullying with dropout rates and teen suicides.

“When you have these incidents of bullying contributing to teen suicides and attempted suicides, that’s a huge problem," Beshear said. "So we’re going to take a comprehensive look at this, and hopefully come up with some other avenues and some other tools that will give us a comprehensive set of solutions.”

The task force will examine legislative approaches and school practices, and  the link between  cyber-bullying and teen suicide.

The group will provide a written report of its findings to the governor’s office in November 2015.

Those who want to report a crime tip to KSP can now do it using a confidential text. The program is called "Text A Tip" and state police say it'll have many benefits. Nationwide, text a tip programs are being promoted in schools to report weapon threats and reduce bullying.

The head of the U.S. Department of Justice's civil rights division is heading to Lexington to talk to hundreds of high school freshmen about bullying and harassment. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez is scheduled to give a speech and participate in a panel discussion for Fayette County freshmen on Wednesday.